• Calloway Cove tenants, still displaced 3 weeks after apartment fire, say they're feeling neglected

    By: Courtney Cole , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Neighbors at Calloway Cove worry they may not have a permanent place to call home any time soon.

    This comes three weeks after a fire damaged one of the buildings at the apartment complex.

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    Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole spoke to a tenant who says she feels like management isn't taking their hardship seriously.

    Another neighbor reached out to Action News Jax on Monday as well.

    That neighbor told us the management company keeps pushing back their move-in date and hasn't given them any solid information.

    That's what led Cole to press Millenia, the company that manages Calloway Cove, for answers.

    "It's like it happens, you're on the news today and then tomorrow everyone forgets about you," Keturah Johnson told Cole.

    Johnson, a mother of a 2-year-old with another baby on the way, says she was just two doors down from the explosion when it happened last month.

    "We were the last people to evacuate the building," Johnson said.

    Ever since then she said she feels like she's just been shuffled from one place to another.

    "There's no permanence anywhere," said Johnson.

    Johnson told Cole there are things she and her neighbors lost in the fire that can never be replaced.

    When Cole asked Millenia when tenants will be able to move back in, or if any of them would be able to retrieve any of their things that may be salvageable, Valerie Jerome, the spokeswoman for Millenia, did not provide a specific calendar date but did tell her this via email:

    "There are security measures and protocols in place that prevent reentry to the site where the fire occurred; if these protocols change, we will communicate this information to the affected households."

    Johnson told Cole that since July 23 she has lived in a hotel, been moved to a different HUD property, then temporarily moved back to Calloway Cove and now she's back in a hotel again.

    "They're kind of like not taking how serious the situation was, how drastic it was for us," Johnson said.

    When Cole contacted Millenia Management to find out when these tenants are going to get some relief, Jerome responded:

    "Currently, four households at Calloway Cove are being accommodated at nearby hotels until further repairs are complete. In addition to housing accommodations, Millennia has provided to these households a daily stipend and connections to resources. There are security measures and protocols in place that prevent reentry to the site where the fire occurred; if these protocols change, we will communicate this information to the affected households."

    When Cole questioned the dollar-value of the daily stipend Jerome did not provide specifics.

    Cole also asked for more specifics about the resources being provided to the tenants. Jerome responded:

    "A donation process has been established; it connects donors directly with affected residents who have chosen to share their information. Partners, such as the American Red Cross, have been engaged, as well."

    It should be noted that right now tenants are living in 169 units at Calloway Cove apartments, but a fence still remains around the building(s) affected following the fire.
     

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